The Road to Bring FDCA and PEF to the Market
Biobased polymers and materials are desperately needed to replace fossil-based materials in the world&rsquo;s transition to a more sustainable lifestyle. In this article, Avantium describes the path from invention towards commercialization of their YXY&reg; plants-to-plastics Technology, which catalytically converts plant-based sugars into FDCA&mdash;the chemical building block for PEF (polyethylene furanoate). PEF is a plant-based, highly recyclable plastic, with superior performance properties compared to today&rsquo;s widely used petroleum-based packaging materials. The myriad of topics that must be addressed in the process of bringing a new monomer and polymer to market are discussed, including process development and application development, regulatory requirements, IP protection, commercial partnerships, by-product valorisation, life cycle assessment (LCA), recyclability and circular economy fit, and end-of-life. Advice is provided for others considering embarking on a similar journey, as well as an outlook on the next, exciting steps towards large-scale production of FDCA and PEF at Avantium&rsquo;s Flagship Plant and beyond.